Yitro 5774: Fear of Fire–A Blessing Then and Now

The experience of watching my block engulfed in smoke and fire last Shabbat set the stage for Parshat Yitro in a unique fashion. The Decalogue is framed (at 19:18 and then 20:15) by descriptions of the fire on Mount Sinai, which seems to become a volcano before the terrified eyes of Israel. Classical midrashim compare…